Dave Douglas is widely recognized as one of the most important and original American musicians to emerge from the jazz and improvised music scene of the last decades. His collaborations as a trumpeter read like a who's who of important contemporary artists: John Zorn, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell, Don Byron, Steve Lacy, Fred Hersch, Anthony Braxton, Myra Melford, Andy Bey, Nick Didkovsky, Trisha Brown, Terry Winters, Jennifer Tipton, Louis Sclavis, Henry Grimes, Tim Berne, Tom Waits, Rabih Abou-Khalil, DJ Olive, Ikue Mori, Han Bennink, Misha Mengelberg, Chris Potter, Uri Caine, Mark Turner, Roswell Rudd, Andrew Cyrille, Marc Ribot, Karsh Kale, Mark Dresser, Mark Feldman, Marty Ehrlich, and many others.
Douglas' work as a composer, performer, educator, and organizer includes an astonishing array of artistic activities:
… Since 1993 Dave has recorded and released 21 albums of original music, and has appeared on over one hundred recordings.
… In March 2003 Dave celebrated his 40th birthday with a New York retrospective at the Jazz Standard that presented 10 of his different ensembles.
… From 1991 - 2003 Dave led the Tiny Bell Trio (Jim Black, drums; and Brad Shepik, guitar), a pioneering group that melded jazz and Balkan music, and recorded four albums worth of new material.
… Since 1993 Dave has been a member of John Zorn's popular Masada quartet (with Greg Cohen, bass; Joey Baron, drums).
… In 2003: Composed a series of poetry settings for singer/pianist Andy Bey. Poems by Samuel Beckett, Adrienne Rich, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Stanley Kunitz were included. The settings were premiered at the Village Vanguard.
… Since 2003 Dave has served as artistic director of the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, collaborating in performances and master classes with Bill Frisell, John Abercrombie, George Lewis, Jason Moran, Mark Turner, Louis Sclavis, and many others.
… From 2002: Founder and co-curator of the annual Festival of New Trumpet Music, an original music festival based in New York and dedicated to presenting the broadest possible spectrum of new music being made by and for trumpeters.
… Dave has written two pieces for orchestra, both premiered with the Cologne Radio Symphony in 2002. He has also written a brass quintet, a string trio, a violin sonata, and a chamber septet.
… From 1994 - 2001: Led the Dave Douglas Sextet, recording three albums dedicated to creatively examining and honoring the legacies of Booker Little, Wayne Shorter, and Mary Lou Williams. The sextet's 2000 album "Soul on Soul" received the title of Album of the Year from DownBeat Magazine.
… Between 1993 and 1997 Dave's group Parallel Worlds recorded three albums of music focusing on the meeting between improvised and contemporary classical musics, including original arrangements of Stravinsky, Messiaen, Webern, Weill, Ellington, and Monk.
… From 1997 - 2004 Dave led the chamber ensemble Charms of the Night Sky featuring accordionist Guy Klucsevsek, violinist Mark Feldman, and bassist greg Cohen. Recorded two albums of music.
… From 1996 - 2001 led the Dave Douglas Quartet featuring Chris Potter, James Genus, and Ben Perowsky. Recorded two albums of new material.
… In 1996 & 1997 Dave composed for, recorded and toured with a double quartet entitled Sanctuary in homage to Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz, and John Coltrane's Ascension.
… From 1999 to 2001 composed the score for "EL Trilogy", an evening length dance choreographed by Trisha Brown and staged by Terry Winters.
… Multi-day overviews of his music have been presented at the San Sebastian Jazz Festivalk, Groningen Jazz Marathon, Cologne Music Trienale, Vancouver Jazz festival, and the New York Jazz Festival.
… Guest artist on scores of recordings including records by Sean Lennon, Cibo Matto, Suzanne Vega, Jubilant Sykes, Ron Sexsmith, Michael Formanek, Myra Melford, Mark Dresser, and many others.
… Members of Dave's ensembles have included Josh Roseman, Greg Tardy, Romero Lubambo, Erik Friedlander, Seamus Blake, Chris Speed, Cuong Vu, Susie Ibarra, Roy Campbell, Jr., Baikida Carroll, Barry Altschul, Clarence Penn, Michael Sarin, Ethan Iverson, Bill Carrothers, and Billy Hart.
For the past half decade Dave Douglas has repeatedly been named trumpeter, composer, and jazz artist of the year by such organizations as the New York Jazz Awards, Down Beat, Jazz Times, Jazziz, and the Italian Jazz Critics' Society.
Born March 24, 1963, in Montclair, New Jersey, Douglas grew up in the New York Metropolitan area. He started playing piano at age five and trombone at seven before discovering the trumpet two years later. He learned jazz and classical harmony in high school and began playing improvised music as an exchange student in Barcelona, Spain in 1978. From 1981 to 1983, Douglas studied in Boston at the Berklee School of Music and the New England Conservatory. He cites Igor Stravinsky, John Coltrane, and Stevie Wonder as primary influences on his music. Moving to New York City in 1984, he attended New York University, studying trumpet with Carmine Caruso, and performed around the city with jazz, funk and experimental music groups. From 1987 to 1990 he toured internationally with artists such as Horace Silver, Vincent Herring, Tim Berne, Don Byron, Dr. Nerve, and the Bread and Puppet Theater. He began to record in earnest in the 1990s and his discography includes recordings on the Hat Art, Soul Note, New World, Arabesque, Songlines and Winter & Winter labels.
Douglas has received fellowships for his work from the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet the Composer, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust and Arts International, which helped finance a trip to India in 1998. Dave was recently commissioned by the Vooruit Culture Center in Ghent, Belgium to write music for the contemporary chamber music ensemble Ictus. The resulting 'Flemish Primitives' were performed in Ghent in March 2002. The New York based Extension Ensemble commissioned a brass quintet entitled 'Private Music' which premiered in 2001 and was recorded by the ensemble for an upcoming release. The Library of Congress' McKim Fund supported the composition of 'Irrational Exuberance' in 1999, and the piece was performed at the Library's Coolidge Auditorium by Mark Feldman and Sylvie Courvoisier in October of that year. In November 1998, Dave took part in Southwest German Radio's "New Jazz Meeting," collaborating on pieces with Lebanese oud player Rabih Abou-Khalil and French clarinetist Louis Sclavis. Douglas has also toured as a guest with the Clusone Trio (Michael Moore, Ernst Reijseger, and Han Bennink), one of Holland's most exciting improvising ensembles.
Douglas' own ensembles have toured widely since 1994, performing at major jazz and new music festivals in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria, France, Holland, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Finland, Estonia, Australia and New Zealand.
In addition to his work as a trumpeter, composer and bandleader leading a wave of innovative, ground breaking and socially and politically aware artists, Douglas is also a sought after educator. He has given master classes and workshops at universities and schools worldwide, including Harvard College, University of North Texas, Eastman College, and New York University. Douglas recently accepted the position as Artistic Director at the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music, where he will direct the faculty and programming from May 23 - June 11, 2005.